Top Ten Tips: Working with Child Subjects

Shane Hamstra gives his insight he gained from working on First Letters , his thesis film co-directed with Brad Smith.

10. Introduce yourself to parents and/or teachers depending on the environment.

9. Introduce yourself and get to know the kids before bringing equipment.

8. When you bring equipment for the first time, make it like a show and tell, that way they aren’t as curious when you’re filming.

7. Ask the children to pretend like you’re not there when you have a camera on your shoulder. Tell them they can talk to you when the camera comes down.

6. When done filming play games or talk if they ask you to.

5. Film at their eye level; don’t loom over them.

4. When asking questions don’t expect an immediate response, their attention spans can be very short.

3. They will all want to be the center of attention in front of the camera, but ask them to take turns and let others have a chance.

2. If you have a flip screen it can sometimes help to turn it around to let them see what they look like.

1. Phrase questions in terms they know and are familiar with.